Who is funding the anti-gay efforts in D.C.?

GLAA Forum

February 2, 2010

Bob Summersgill reports on who is supplying the money for Rev. Harry Jackson's continuing court battles to deny marriage to gay couples in DC. It turns out there are four primary donors, all from well outside of the DC area: High Impact Leadership Coalition, Focus on the Family, National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and Family Research Council. [Link]

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Hawaii backers of civil unions plan suit

Honolulu Advertiser
February 2, 2010
Gay-rights advocates are preparing a lawsuit alleging that the state is violating the equal protection rights of same-sex couples by not passing a civil-unions law. The state House voted on Friday to indefinitely postpone action on civil unions. The lawsuit will be based on a 1993 Hawaii Supreme Court ruling which held that denying the freedom to marry was a violation of equal-protection rights under the state Constitution. [Link]

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Straight Spouses of Gay or Lesbian Partners Offer Unique Argument for the Freedom to Marry

By Amity P. Buxton
Founder, Straight Spouse Network
Author, The Other Side of the Closet: The Coming-Out Crisis for Straight Spouses and Families
At the end of the testimony phase of the current federal trial regarding the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, David Boies, a leading lawyer for the plaintiffs, stated that there is “no societal benefit to denying gays and lesbians the right to marry" (New York Times, January 28, 2010). The reverse of that point is also true. Based on the experiences of married, presumably heterosexual spouses where one turns out to be gay, there is a societal benefit to allowing same-sex couples the right to marry. The testimony of the straight spouses in these mixed orientation marriage couples, -- up to two million, according to recent data -- offers a unique argument that legalizing marriages for same-sex couples can actually strengthen the experience of marriage for all.

Let me explain -- from my 23 years of research and observation. "A straight spouse" is the bride or groom who unwittingly marries a gay man or lesbian, who, following societal, family, and faith community expectations, marries an opposite sex partner as the "right thing to do." At the time of the wedding, the gay or lesbian spouses may not be aware of or ignore, deny, or hide their same-sex attraction. Once married, most gradually experience an internal struggle of attraction, identity, and integrity. Some secretly act on the same-sex attraction. Others repress those feelings and project the resulting frustration and anger on their spouses. Many eventually come out or are found out. The disclosure (or the straight spouse's discovery) is devastating. The straight spouse's judgment and trust are betrayed. While some couples work out a way to stay married, the vast majority divorce. Since most of the couples have children, families are torn apart. One by one, these divorces and family breakups undermine the experiences of marriage for many – not just the affected couple.

If gay men and lesbians were able to marry partners of the same sex to whom they are committed and assume all the legal rights and responsibilities of marriage, with no sexual orientation and partial truth impediments, there would be fewer divorces and family breakups. Stating this outcome is a strong addition to Boies’ point. After the statement, "There is no societal benefit from denying gay and lesbian persons the right to marry,” let's point out the reverse and positive side: "In fact, there is a societal benefit to giving gay men and lesbians the legal right to marry the person they love."

Whether in court or in the public debate about the freedom to marry, the voices of straight spouses who have faced their partners' disclosure, divorce, and a broken family need to be heard to illustrate the negative effects of depriving gay men and lesbians of this right. Their testimony will make it clear that what is at stake is the legal right of all persons, gay and non-gay alike, to marry with the optimum chances of success.

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What will be the outcome of the Prop 8 trial?

January 29, 2010
William N. Eskridge Jr. and Darren Spedale write about the Proposition 8 trial, reviewing the arguments of both the plaintiffs and defendant-intervenors, and laying out the various possible findings by Judge Vaughn Walker. [Link]

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Hawaii postpones civil unions bill indefinitely

January 29, 2010

Last year the civil unions bill passed the Hawaii House by a vote of 33-to 17. One week ago, the Senate passed the bill 18-7. But on Friday the House voted to postpone indefinitely the civil unions bill for gay and heterosexual couples. Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry, who was co-counsel in the historic Hawaii marriage case, Baehr v. Miike, which started the whole thing, said:

Losing ground? No way. We don’t win every battle, and we definitely need to strengthen our reaching out to more Americans to bring them into our cause (which is what Freedom to Marry’s expansion is all about). But after a decade of inaction, we got both houses of the Hawaii legislature to pass a civil union bill, just not in sync — and remember, when we started this movement in Hawaii, there was no place in the world where same-sex couples could marry. Now we’ve got five states, our nation’s capital, eight countries, and more shimmering within reach.

The Democratic president [Bill Clinton] who signed the so-called “DOMA” as we were doing the trial in Hawaii now supports the freedom to marry and has called for “DOMA”’s repeal, as did the Republican congressman [Bob Barr] who wrote it.

More than a hundred million Americans now live in a state that provides some level of statewide recognition of same-sex couples and their families — up from virtually zero a decade ago.

We have a lot more to do, as Freedom to Marry works to build a majority for marriage, win more states, and build toward a federal victory…but by any historical measure, we’ve gained and are gaining ground, and the future is ours. [Link]

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Prop. 8 lawyer vetted first freedom to marry ban initiative with Mormon leaders

California Watch
January 29, 2010

The Courage Campaign has filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission against Prop 8 lead defense attorney Andy Pugno over using state resources to communicate with a Mormon attorney about an anti-gay marriage initiative. [Link]

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Concerns about gay couples raising kids still main argument of freedom to marry opponents after four

The Sacramento Bee
January 30, 2010

The Prop 8 trial ended its witness testimony in San Francisco this week. The defense argued that even if Proposition 8 harms gays and lesbians and any children they may have, voters had a right to exclude gays from marriage because of concerns, despite numerous studies to the contrary, that children are best raised by their biological mothers and fathers. "Fourteen years later [than the 1996 Hawaii freedom to marry case] and tens of millions of dollars later, they [the opposition] haven't come up with anything else," said Evan Wolfson of the group Freedom to Marry. [Link]

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Mexico prosecutor challenges freedom to marry law

Agence France-Presse (Mexico)
January 29, 2010

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard called an appeal against the city's marriage equality law by the country's Attorney General "a grave mistake." Ebrard said that it is not the job of the attorney general to decide the city's laws. [Link]

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Voice for Equality: Don Imus

Don Imus is an American radio host, humorist, writer, and philanthropist. Imus’s sometimes controversial statements and colorful language have often drawn the attention of the press and have gotten him into several well-publicized battles, one of which resulted in his show being pulled from the air. The current version of his nationally-syndicated talk show, Imus in the Morning, returned to television on October 5, 2009 and is currently seen on Fox Business Network from 6:00-9:00 EST Monday-Friday. Learn more here.

On January 27, 2010, Imus in the Morning featured David Boies, co-counsel with Ted Olson for the pro-freedom to marry side in the Prop 8 Trial in California. In the course of the discussion, Don Imus expressed support for the freedom to marry, saying: "I supported—not that it’s important, but I support it [the freedom to marry] on the basis of the philosophy of my friend Kinky Friedman, who thinks that they [gay couples] have a right to be as unhappy…as anybody...It's great that you and Ted are doing this, and I hope you win, good luck." During the interview, Mr. Boies explained the constitutional and civil rights issues at stake in the case. Watch the video of the Don Imus/David Boies interview below:

Freedom to Marry salutes Don Imus as a Voice for Equality! Learn about other Voices for Equality here.

If Mr. Imus' support speaks to you - get involved.

**Make your NOMINATION for a Voice for Equality today!

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Marriage for Same-Sex Couples: A Conversation

Columbia Law School Magazine
January 7, 2010
Following the many developments regarding the freedom to marry in 2009, Columbia Law School Magazine approached four professors of varying backgrounds to document their thoughts on marriage for same-sex couples in a series of back-and-forth emails—no moderator, no referee. [Link]

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